Rescue organization finds homes for Golden Retrievers
Jerry Stahl was bored. Maybe that is not exactly accurate. Jerry Stahl was retired—and after six months of traveling with his wife and playing golf—he was looking for something to fill the time. Stahl was also still reeling from the passing of Jesse—his wonderful Golden Retriever.
“Jesse had a great personality and he just endeared himself to us,” says Stahl. “I have always been passionate about Golden Retrievers.”
Stahl began working with Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) as a way to honor Jesse. It was the same organization that helped him find Jesse in 2006.
“I helped the RAGOM Board of Directors develop their first strategic plan in late 2010,” explains Stahl. “One of the issues we identified was the need for a full time executive director.” Stahl not only had the desired skills, but also the passion needed to succeed—and in February of 2011 he took on the position.
All of RAGOM’s dogs live with foster families, and each dog has a blog on the organization’s website (RAGOM.org). This affords people the opportunity to get to know the dog and his personality before they adopt.
“When I am feeling down, I just go on the RAGOM site and read the bios of all of the dogs living in our foster homes,” says Stahl. “Reading the individual stories is really uplifting.”
Stahl remembers Carly, a Golden Retriever who came to them weighing an obese 120 pounds. With the help of the staff, Carly dropped nearly 50 pounds. However, obesity affected her health—at 9 years old she was diagnosed with diabetes. Carly was also going blind, which is a common side effect from diabetes. Luckily for Carly, a generous donor provided enough money for the surgery to remove her cataracts.
“RAGOM has an incredible group of 800 volunteers, 300 of whom are active at any given time,” says Stahl. “Their talents and willingness to help are amazing.“
The breed-rescue group currently has more than 100 foster homes in their network. In 2011, this dedicated core of volunteers took in 437 Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes, adopting out 376 of them.
“We couldn’t do it without our donors and our fosters,” says Stahl. “Some rescues are kennel-based, but we don’t operate that way. All of our dogs are always in a home.”
RAGOM provides dogs with exceptional medical care. Each dog has a routine health exam, is spayed/neutered, and receives whatever care is necessary to be adoptable. In 2011, they spent an average of $571 per dog on vet care. But Stahl says financial stability is not an issue for RAGOM.
“The biggest challenge we have right now is the shortage of purebred Golden Retrievers,” explains Stahl. “We have 100 approved homes waiting to adopt a Golden Retriever under 6 years old. We don’t have enough dogs to meet this demand.”
RAGOM is currently reaching out to shelters and rescues in other states to bring in more young Golden Retrievers—Stahl knows there are good homes waiting for them.
“If we can’t help, we will put you in touch with a Golden Retriever rescue near you.”
For more information please visit RAGOM.org. If a Golden Retriever is in need of a loving, forever home, contact Jerry Stahl at Hotline@RAGOM.org.